Hey guys, it’s been a while since I’ve posted anything here. I sometimes find it hard to find a topic I think people will actually care to hear about. But I thought I’d share this blog with those of you who don’t already know it. I stumbled across it on tumblr a couple months ago, and I think the work this person does is amazing!
The New York Underground library consists of photographs of people reading while riding on the trains or waiting on the platforms of the New York subway. In the blogger’s own words:
“The Underground New York Public Library is a
visual library featuring the Reading-Riders of the NYC subways. It expects to house over a thousand images by 2013. This library freely lends out a reminder that we’re all capable of traveling to great depths within ourselves and as a whole.
The NYC Reading-Riders are a plentiful and diverse group. They’re engaged in a simultaneous journey, one that takes them towards their daily pursuits as well as towards a greater sense of themselves and our world. This project takes a closer look at them in celebration and revelation.
I’m Ourit. I take and post these pictures along with some behind the scenes stories and thoughts. I’m fascinated by how we apply ourselves to stories and discourse. In so doing, we shape the course of who we understand ourselves to be.”
What I love about Ourit’s project is not just the appreciation of reading but also the fact that in order to take all those photographs she has to actually LOOK at her surroundings instead of just mindlessly gliding through everyday life. I think that once you walk through the city with open eyes, trying to take it all in, you notice that so many fleeting but amazing moments take place – a sideway glance, a smile, a short interaction between strangers, the play of light on water. I think those tiny magical moments are part of what makes life worth living. When looking at her pictures, it’s like I get a tiny snippet out of another person’s life. I look at the titles of those books, and I wonder what the person’s motivation for reading them might be. I like the diversity of both people and genres or book formats.
Photos are not the only posts though, there are discussions about street photography and its ethics in general, about the role and significance of reading, about the relation between books and eReaders. Also, Ourit has written a couple poems made up entirely of the tumblr usernames of those who like or reblog her entries!
I hope I could make you curious about this project and that some of you will check this blog out! There are also plans to make a book out of it. What do you think of the Underground Library project? Would it be interesting to attempt something like this in Zurich, on the tram/bus? How do you think people would react? I’d love to get a couple comments on this 😉